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Tony Naidu

“Choose to be optimistic, it feels better.” - Dalai Lama XIV

My purpose is to make a difference. My passion is to share the knowledge, skills and experience I have to help others achieve success where I can.

I always take an active role whether I am teaching, consulting, managing or in a governance position. It is important to me that life has enjoyment, however, a solid foundation must be built in order to do that. I am not afraid ask tough questions, hold others and myself accountable and I push others to dream bigger.

I am a student of business, holding both undergraduate and graduate business degrees, however, I get more satisfaction from rolling up my sleeves and successfully implementing a plan.

I have been on the Board of Trustees for Gulf Harbour School (GHS) since 2013, serving as Board Chair since 2017.  Contributing to GHS combines two of my passions, education and my children.

I am proud of the progress the school has made since 2013, and since I have become Chair there are a few highlights for me:

  • Appointment of Mel Crosbie as Principal and the strengthening of the school leadership team that has been enabled to achieve outstanding outcomes for the children of GHS.

  • Roll growth to over 500 students (up from 380 in 2016, which included Years 7/8 students).  

  • Introduction of cohort entry for new entrant classes, allowing children, parents and teachers to have a smoother introduction to GHS when they turn 5.

  • Development of an annual fundraising plan that includes PTA activities, Sponsorship, and Grant Funding (e.g. new spider web).  As a Decile 10 school we rely heavily on other funding to provide the education your children deserve.

  • Pilot programmes in 2019 where we no longer ask for a $200 per student donation and have an annual planned activity donation, allowing families to budget for the year.

  • New property projects, including advancement of the School Hall, upgrades to the toilet blocks and new outdoor covered secret garden area due to start 2019.

  • The ability to be able to fund property development, additional resources and pilot programmes, is through the sound financial management of school leadership, under the supervision of the Finance Committee that is led by Dave Saunders and includes Mel Crosbie and myself.  The school has never been in a better financial position and this was achieved without ever compromising educational goals.

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Rachel McDonald

I have been a member of the Board of Trustees since June 2016. I absolutely value the opportunities that have been given to me to both extend my knowledge and to be able to be an advocate on behalf of the community.

My role within the Board has been a great learning curve which involves attendance at various ministry educational events and earlier on learning from those who had previously been on the board.

I have also continued my professional development by utilising the online Learning Management System as provided by the NZSTA.

I have two Children who are both at Gulf Harbour School and have been since they were 5. I have a strong passion to ensure that all children are receiving the absolute best education. Regardless of personal views I always ensure that any decision is looked at in detail and considers all aspects which may be affected.

When not working on the Board team, or running the kids to different sports, you will find me doing my day to day job. I am a qualified Patent and Trade Mark Attorney (NZ & AU). I have a Certificate in Business Studies from Massey University. I assist many local and internationally based clients in the development and protection of their brands in New Zealand, Australia and worldwide. My role in Intellectual Property gives
me the ability to see new innovative products and to help many businesses achieve their objectives.

During my working career I have managed large corporate portfolios and a team of attorneys. I also regularly provide education to clients and universities to bridge the gap between innovation and intellectual property.

I believe that my commitment and enthusiasm for Gulf Harbour and the future success of our children, coupled with my business background, makes me an ideal fit with the Board and its objectives.


Dave Saunders

My name is Dave Saunders and when I’m not being a member of the Gulf Harbour School board, I am either being a father to Kieran & Ayla or working as a business and tax consultant. My family and I live on the North Shore.

 Education and schooling are crucial, particularly in the early years. A good school helps develop resilient children and build strong communities. The best contribution that I can make is through ensuring that the school is effectively governed.

 I don’t have children at Gulf Harbour School. Because of this, my views are objective – I have no vested interest. My only interest is to ensure that the school delivers for its students, their families and its community.

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Tony Cheetham

Bula Vinaka!

My name is Tony Cheetham, my partner Vicky and I live in Army Bay and have three children attending Gulf Harbour School in years 1, 2 and 4.
I firmly believe that a good, well rounded education is essential for success in the world we live in and Primary level education is instrumental for building a solid foundation for all education and learning moving forward. It is essentially where we ‘learn to learn’ – there is no single correct way to do this, it is different for every child and I believe Gulf Harbour School recognises and encourages this diversity in our children.
Gulf Harbour School has been an extremely positive influence in my children’s development, I want to ensure this continues, and I am keen to give back and be involved in this process. I am already actively involved with the school - currently coaching Flippaball and Basketball, I have also previously been involved with coaching Rippa Rugby teams, have attended several camps as a volunteer and together with my family have been actively involved in numerous school fundraising activities, in
particular the Gala and Colour Run events. I am also a proud member of “Unsinkables” Gulf Harbour School Social Waterpolo team.
Sport has been, and continues to be, an important part of my life - both competing myself and in various coaching roles. While I played a variety of sports growing up - rugby, basketball, cricket, softball, I got involved in dragon boating as a teenager and went on to successfully compete in dragon boat regattas both nationally and internationally. I also spent many years coaching dragon boating to a national level across both secondary school and adult teams. I have jumped at the opportunity to get more involved in coaching since having children of my own - I really enjoy coaching kids and love seeing the look on a students face when they have a ‘light bulb’ moment and all their effort and commitment comes together, I get as much of a kick seeing a group of kids work together and support each other coming together as a team, and the pure enjoyment they get from playing sport - regardless of the result.
l bring a strong work ethic, calm demeanour and youthful enthusiasm to the Board of Trustees which has helped shape my 17 year career as a NZ Police Officer. I have a vested interest in encouraging, protecting and being actively involved in our community – both personally as a father and a member of this community, and professionally as a Police Officer.

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Matt Pedersen

I am currently a local resident of Gulf Harbour. I have four children, two of which have attended GHS and since left to attend local intermediate schools, two are currently still at GHS in Yr. 5 and Yr. 3.

We, as a family have been immensely involved with the school for over 5 years now and supported in coaching teams, school camps and also through integrated programmes that the school offers under the highly beneficial 2019 activities programme.


I originally trained as a teacher but ironically never taught in a classroom –  however since then I have been successful in owning and managing my own hospitality businesses for over 12 years in Wellington, Horowhenua and the Wairarapa.

I then transitioned into Corporate Sales and Management for the last 13 years. Currently I lead a strategic team of six for a global legal research and content Provider called LexisNexis.

My sales and training team support the leading national Tertiary Academic Institutions, a suite of over 65 Government Agencies, the National Bodies and Associations in the Barrister and Legal Profession and delivers new business across these segments and also Corporate. 

My wife, along with 2 other business partners, currently own a very well supported and recognised Performing Arts School with studios locally in Whanagaparaoa and Takapuna.

This business supports over 600 children in the wider North Shore/Rodney District to develop life skills and confidence through Trinity drama, singing and dance exams and through live performances and productions.

I want to offer my skill set, to focus on the 3 areas below:

  1. Securing the holistic Growth and Development of all GHS Staff, Student Learners and wider Whanau.

  2. Providing Strategic Vision and Support for GHS.

  3. Continuing to Connect the Community through the School Network, activities outside of school  and community projects.

Please if you feel you need to contact me to discuss any elements of supporting the school I look forward to talking with you.


Dagmar Goodall

I teach English as a second language at Gulf Harbour School and have been the literacy leader since February 2017.


My professional background in education is diverse. I started my career as a secondary school teacher in Germany, where I taught English, history and politics at a grammar school in Krefeld. My family moved from Germany to New Zealand in 2005 to settle down in my husband’s beautiful home country. Gulf Harbour School became a place of belonging shortly after our arrival, when our son started his education in year 0. Although I loved teaching at secondary school level, I accepted a job offer at Gulf Harbour as the ESOL lead.

Teaching is so much more than a job and I feel very passionate about my work. Reading and writing are important tools in the hands of livelong learners and I am devoted to fostering rich reading and writing programmes in our school. I believe that our students need inspiration and the freedom to create as well as structured input to become successful readers and writers.

Gulf Harbour School is a unique place and I feel very privileged to work with a team of very passionate and professional colleagues and leaders. As the staff representative on the Board of Trustees I hope to contribute positively by offering a point of view from a teacher’s perspective.

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Gulf Harbour School
65 Alec Craig Way 
Gulf Harbour
Auckland 0930

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